Allen Hoolaeff said Alex Gervais was like a son to him.
He was Gervais’ primary caregiver for seven years, from the time he was 11 to 17.
In 2015, Gervais jumped through a fourth-floor window at an Abbotsford hotel while he was in government care.
Gervais’ caregiver at the time of his death was being paid $8,000 a month to look after the teen in the hotel.
According to a report by B.C’s new child watchdog released Monday, witnesses told investigators the caregiver “hadn’t been there at all in the 10 days before Alex’s death – and Alex complained bitterly that the caregiver was pocketing the money meant for him to purchase food and clothing.”
Just days before jumping through the window, the desperate 18-year-old texted Hoolaeff.
“According to Alex, he wasn’t receiving any money, he wasn’t getting food, he wasn’t getting clothing. He felt unsupported,” Hoolaeff said.
Monday’s report went on to say the caregiver “had a history of gun violence, gang involvement, drug dealing and drug use, but was nevertheless cleared by the Ministry of Justice to work with children or vulnerable adults, as were all other caregivers at the residential agency.”
Abbotsford police have confirmed the investigation into Gervais’ suicide is over with no charges. But there is still another ongoing investigation connected to Gervais. Police are not commenting on who is at the centre of the file or whether charges are being considered.
Seventeen months later, there appear to have been no real consequences for anyone.
Hoolaeff said there should be an independent investigation into any death involving children in care.
“I don’t think that it’s ethical for the government to investigate itself and that the youth advocate’s office should be in charge of this,” he said.
– With files from Rumina Daya